Managing windows xp home user accounts

raybobo

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Under Documents & Settings in Windows XP Home Edition with SP2 & SP3 there are nine (9) user accounts. Why? Where did they all come from? I am the only one who uses this machine. In can understand two or three (with Windows creating an Administrator and Owner Account). I see the account I set up when I installed Windows, but why the others. They all have tons of files which I think are hogging disk space. Can I delete any of these without disrupting the Registry? How?
 



Back up your system.
Then go to Control Panel > User accounts
make sure you are logged on with admin priveleges
Delete what should not be there
 

raybobo

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The eight of the nine accounts I'm talking about DO NOT show up in User Accounts via Control Panel. If they did, it would be a piece of cake for sure. The only one of the 9 that shows up there is the one I created for myself on installation. As I drill down through these nine accounts via D&S each has TONS of files associated with it, which seems like a redundancy and a waste of space. However, if installed programs (Adobe, for example) created each of these, then I wonder WHY? And what would happen if I deleted one or more of them?
 

I have never seen any legitimate software do this.
I would run AV scan, and if you do not have it already,
malwarebytes scanner, just to check for possible infections, even if you are not experiencing abnormal behavior.
 

Hawkeye22

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Moderator
I've seen programs do this before, but 9 seems like a lot. Microsoft SQL enterprise manager will install a SQLDebugger account, but it shows up in the control panel/users and under management. If it doesn't show up in control panel/users, I'd be suspicious. A virus scan is in order.
 

raybobo

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I do have AV & AMW installed and active. Scans show all clear. The folders are:
Administrator; Administrator Only; All Users; All Users.Windows; Default User; Default User.Windows; Guest; Owner (besides the one I created at install). I did recently get a virus (research revealed it was a very common & sinister one), and had to reinstall Windows XP home. I did not reformat the HD, however, therefore the reinstall was over the old one. So, I'm assuming some of this duplication occurred then. Still, I wonder if the older ones can be safely deleted. Can't find anything about this on Microsoft Knowledge Base, or the web in general. I have posed the question to several of the online gurus, but they are all very busy, which I can understand. So, I'm stuck with all these space hogging user accounts until further knowledge informs me. Thanks.
 

Hawkeye22

Champion
Moderator
I've never encountered this before, even when installing xp over itself. I think the virus may have left some residual stuff that got incorporated into your install as you suggested. I'd make a backup of the drive then delete the extra accounts to see how it effects the OS. worst case, you can do a restore or better yet, format the drive and reinstall.
 
I'm not so familiar with Windows XP Home Edition so check if you have access to user accounts management through the following routes. A) Would be best recommended to delete user accounts.
A) Control Panel\System\Advanced\User Profiles\Settings
B) Computer Management: 3-Ways to access it; 1-My Computer\right click\Manage\Local users and groups. 2-Control Panel\Administrative Tools\Computer Management\Local Users and Groups. 3-Start\Run\compmgmt.msc)
C) Start\Run\control userpasswords2
D) Control Panel User Accounts

After you have thoroughly cleaned your system, scan it with the Symantec Security Check to know where your system's vulnerabilities are and learn how to secure it against another such episode which appears to be a hijacking by the volume of unknown files... and it's possible no virus or malware is necessary to hijack a system.

Symantec Security Check
http://security.symantec.com/sscv6/home.asp?langid=ie&venid=sym&plfid=23&pkj=XFMGRHYTINMHDKDCWLL
File Shredder
http://www.fileshredder.org/

Best Free Rootkit Scanner and Remover
http://www.techsupportalert.com/best-free-rootkit-scanner-remover.htm#Avast-Anti-Rootkit
 

raybobo

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Thanks. Basically all that has been done. I really don't want to do another re-install. I have a full time job and a wife who wants her computer up and running. Last re-install took three days. Things are fine now, just all these odd files and used space, but I can live with that as long as no harm is being done. And none of my safety programs report any harm being done.
 
. You don't get the option to create new account with a repair installation, so I'm suspecting you didn't do a repair installation but a new installation over the old one.

If the R (repair) option was not offered during the installation and you selected to do a New Installation over the old one, that would explain everything.

If you infact did a new installation over the old one (not a repair installation), check the files and folders dates... those dated with a previous to the new installation date, can be safely deleted. Also check for other duplicated files and folders with a previous to the new installation date, and delete them.

To make it absolutely clear, a new installation over the older one would install newly dated system files and folders, but a repair installation would keep some older system files and folders, so make sure of the type of installation you did before deleting anything.
 

raybobo

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After some digging around on two other machines (searching the internet and Microsoft Knowledge Base was useless), I discovered that Windows XP Home creates three folders under Documents and Settings. That is, it creates three user accounts: Administrator, All Users, and another that may be named Default User (or something similar). When one re-installs Windows XP Home on top of an existing installation (without deleting the old one---this is NOT a repair, but a re-installation), it does not delete those folders, but creates three new ones: Administrator.Only; All Users. Windows; Default User.Windows. That now gives six folders under D&S. In my case, the computer came with software pre-installed by Dell who had originally created also a folder named Owner (which I should have renamed, but didn't know to do so, and created another using my name). That makes eight (8) folders under D&S. The last one is named Guest. I'm not sure who created that; I didn't. Perhaps Dell did; perhaps the initial installation of Windows did, but there is no such folder on my other two machines (desktop and laptop). With this knowledge, I was able to find files I thought were lost in the re-installation. They were in the original All User folder, which is where the program (in this case Adobe) put them originally. When I re-installed my programs after re-installing Windows, some of them (including Adobe) added their folders to the new All User folder in the new D&S. All this being said, the good news is that I did not lose work that I thought I had. All I had to do was re-associate it to the program (Adobe) and I was able to resume use of all in that folder except some media that was either moved in the new installation or lost in the crash, all of which is replaceable from original photos. Case closed. (Now why doesn't Microsoft document this and safe folks like me hours and days of frustration?!).
 

raybobo

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My original question was can I delete duplicate user accounts in Windows XP Home after a re-installation over an older one (following a virus infection & cleaning). A secondary issue concerned what was IN those user accounts before I deleted them. I had incomplete projects in Adobe Photoshop prior to the re-installation, which were no longer visible or available after the re-installation. As described above, I found those projects in the old All Users account. I am glad I found them, but it took way too long simply because this issue is NOT documented in ANY Windows help file or MS Knowledge Base that I found (and I spend hours looking).
 

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